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1. PEOPLE AND COMMUNITIES: Affordable Housing

VISION: Affordable rural housing in Surrey’s rural communities that enables people to live near to family and rural employment opportunities.

This could be achieved by:

* A range of housing types and options for rural Surrey
* Safeguarding existing affordable homes in rural areas from right to buy
* Exploring alternative finance models to ensure rents remain affordable
* Ensuring robust mechanisms are in place for assessing cross subsidy on rural exception schemes
* Continuing commitment to the Surrey Rural Housing Group and Rural Housing Enabler

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Answer – Disagree Strongly

There is a need for a range of types and options of housing, but there is no necessity to ensure that development within the rural communities must lead to endless expansion of those communities. In villages that are often separated by only one or two fields, expansion of the villages will lead to coalescence between communities and will destroy the very community spirit that is supposedly being supported.

Surrey is a highly developed county under enormous development pressure. It is not just a development zone and this should be recognised as part of the planning agenda. Protection of the countryside is as important as addressing the relatively limited problem of providing rural affordable housing. 

“Affordable housing” defined in current planning guidance is 80% of average market price (in Guildford circa £500,000); a family with two “average wages” from local employment in Guildford is unlikely ever to afford such a property as first time buyers. If on the other hand what is meant is “social housing” then the stock in Guildford is down to 5,000 properties directly owned by the council and this should be protected against right-to-buy as should local housing owned and administered by housing associations.  Local surveys of local “need” for “social housing” are based on a poor methodology as it tries to take a snapshot of a moving target of members of the local authority general housing list and in the local experience of Normandy, many of those who ultimately occupy such properties have no local connection to the community whatsoever.

The Surrey Rural Housing Group and Rural Housing Enabler are not explained. Without explanation, we  would not support any commitment to either entity at all and in fact would withdraw all support to either entity unless explanation and publicity are first provided.

Rural exception schemes are often used as justification for developments on 'green' sites on the edge of small settlements.  There is very limited justification for such schemes, especially within otherwise protected areas such as Green Belt, AONB, AGLV or the Thames Basin Heath SPA.  We would not support any particular subsidy for rural exception schemes.

Saturday the 16th - Published by Normandy Action Group, 11 Glaziers Lane, Guildford GU3 2DD - funded by Keith Witham, Surrey County Councillor - Hostgator Coupon Template